or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Welcome to Mothering! › Connect With Other Moms › Moms In Your Area › Minnesota, Wisconsin › Madison Birth Center stories/info?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Madison Birth Center stories/info?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hi out there!

I just found out I'm pregnant and am already reading everything I can get my hands on.

I'm really excited by the idea of a natural childbirth. Over my lifetime I've had awful experiences with the medical industry. Including an awful episode when I was 13 that involved an OBGYN forcing me to undergo a full pelvic exam against my wishes, just because I wasn't having regular periods yet. Ugh.

With all that said, I'm not scared of giving birth, but I'm scared of giving birth in a hospital setting with doctors that are more focused on giving me drugs than helping my body do what its designed to do.

Madison Birth Center seems like an ideal option. Everything I've read about them seems great. One thing that bothers me- they seem tight lipped about their price, only mentioning on their site that it is less than a hospital birth.

My insurance won't cover MBC (I have GHC, which only allows me to birth at St Marys) so I would have to pay out of pocket. I don't really want to tour the facility unless I know it would be financially in reach, other wise it would just be too heartbreaking.

Can anyone at least give me a dollar range on what they cost?? Anyone want to share their experience there? How early did you begin going for pre-natal care?

Any info is appreciated!
post #2 of 10
I have heard its around $5000, but could be off base. I don't see any reason why you couldn't call & ask. You may also want to search the archives.

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

Group Health Coop of Madison/ Madison Birth Center

Out of pocket cost, if you pay by your 26th week is 6080 dollars. That might seem high, but it's still cheaper than a hospital birth.

I'm pretty frustrated and discouraged. I want very much to have my baby there, but if not there, I at least want midwife care.

GHC, the only insurance my employer offers, ONLY covers births at St Marys and denies members access to midwives. IMO, totally not cool.

So I'm looking to switch my DH's insurance, which is a PPO. Unlikely they will cover the whole cost, but they'll cover more than none.

Also looking into participating in my employer's flex plan program for medical expenses to see if I can put that money towards the birth center.

Emotionally, this is really taking a toll on me. We don't have a lot of money as it is, and this will be a major commitment from us.

DH says not to worry- women have been birthing babies for millions of years whether they had midwives, doulas, doctors, or just a mildly freaked out partner to encourage them.

Still, this is my first baby, and I'm already totally terrified of doctors. The idea of having my baby in a hospital when I am not ill seems ridiculous and scary. Is it so wrong to want to have my baby my way? And MBC is cheaper than a St Mary's birth anyway! I mean, it won't be for me, but GHC would save money if they paid for a birth there as opposed to a hospital.

I called MBC and they were so kind and helpful. When I spoke to a nurse at GHC, she argued with me about the vitamins I was taking (apparently the ones from Willy St Coop were not good enough and she insisted I take prescribed ones. She also got irritated with me when I asked what foods were high in folic acid, mostly because she didn't know), and then told me that I couldn't speak to their consultant until late October, at which time I would choose a doctor. That means no caregiver will even see me until November. Whereas at MBC, I could start a relationship with my midwife now, if only I had coverage.

Sorry to ramble here. I know I've got complaints of the privileged- got healthcare, just not a kind I like. But still, I am so frustrated and I can't sleep thinking about how to work all this out.
post #4 of 10
Is home birth out of the question for you? It is much less expensive- around $2500 for the local practices here.

I went through this with my first child- we paid out of pocket for MBC but ended up at the hospital. Please feel free to PM me with questions.
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Shell_Ell View Post
Is home birth out of the question for you? It is much less expensive- around $2500 for the local practices here.
Thank you so much for the reply! Funny you should ask- I just began thinking of home birth this weekend after watching the documentary film The Business of Being Born.

I am open to a home birth but I have a few concerns-

1. We live in an apartment and my husband is concerned that the neighbors will be upset about the noise. I told him that once his wife (me) goes into labor, the LAST thing he'll be thinking of is the neighbors. Still, it seems to be a big concern, at least for him. I figure Madison is a pretty progressive town, and I mean, if the neighbors don't like it, it's not as though it's a recurring issues, right?

2. My parents are extremely unsupportive of this option, being of the opinion that only hospital births are safe (which I know is completely untrue). But, I guess I've done lots of things in my life my parents didn't like, and this isn't their birth. It was funny to hear my parents tell me what a bad idea this was, because it was in front of my grandma, the matriarch of our family, who was born at home. She informed my dad that having a baby in a hospital is actually the untraditional route to go.

3. My mother had me and my two brothers by cesarean. I don't know the particulars of why. She is severely mentally ill, and we have not spoken in nearly a decade, so I don't have her around to ask. I don't know if it's something genetic that might pertain to my birth experience, or if it was one of those pit/epidural episodes where too many pain meds and labor inducing drugs sent her to the OR.

I think I will take you up on our offer to PM. I really appreciate that.
post #6 of 10
Gosh, what a bummer. I really hope you are able to find a way to make it work.
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Family objections aside, we've scheduled a midwife interview for next week. Very excited. Hoping to make this work.
post #8 of 10

Again - This thread was a huge help when I was researching options so I'm posting my recent experience with the Madison Birth Center here.

I became a client of the Madison Birth Center in February 2011 and planned to deliver with them in July 2011 based on extensive research and the excellent history of care and the reviews of Aszani Kunkle'rs work and vision. We were very happy with the CNM that we were meeting with and were aware that we would not be able to ultimately choose who would be our midwife at delivery and agreed top meet the other midwives. After several visits with a difference midwife who is a CPM we asked what had happened to the CNM we'd been seeing. We we're told she had been let go. This led to our discovery that all of the founding staff had left the practice in June 2010 when Aszani departed. None of this was explained to us and the Madison Birth Center website still does not make clear that their reviews and birth stories are with different midwives than their current staff. As the birth preparedness class was a disappointment as well we looked for and found an excellent local team of midwives. I have now met the other home-birth midwives in the Madison area and would highly recommend any of them. Several are CNMs and provide a very high level of professional care including emergency care. 


The Madison Birth Center was sold on 10/3/2011 to Whole Health Services LLC (Jennifer Bell) as an assets only sale (Per a letter from Loniello, Johnson & Simonini legal). Because I'd paid up front and my refund was not processed by the time the business was sold I am still owed $1,886 and have filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau (no response from Madison Birth Center). Ultimately, the high cost of a Madison Birth Center birth (~$6,000) vs the rates for the local home birth midwives (~$2,500) goes to business that does not provide a high level of care for women and does not honor refunds to past clients. The ongoing dishonesty undermines the reason many of us chose women-center care - Trust. If you go with the Madison Birth Center, at the very least, be aware that they are on the verge of bankruptcy and do not pay in advance for services. And, ideally, choose one of the other local midwives who are fantastic. We'd never considered giving birth at home and now highly recommend it.

post #9 of 10

Just to give a different view point~  I used to work at the Birth Center and a birth assistant and thought the care there was wonderful!  Absolutley no comparrison to the hospital or to some midwives I've worked with.  I am also an RN and I've worked in a L&D unit in the Birth Center and with a homebirth midwife and I knew I would probably choose MBC when I became pregnant.  I'm pregnant now and being seen there and my experiences have been great so far.  The staff has changed since I worked there-- along with the ownership, but that doesn't have to be a bad thing.  Sometimes change can be good!  The new owner has a background in business I've been told which will probably be a good thing for MBC in the long run.  The midwives there right now are great!  And, I've had a few friends recently have their babies there and they also had great experiences.  Your never going to please everyone no matter what, but I think MBC is a wondeful option :-)

post #10 of 10

SunSoltice - I'm so sorry about your experience and circumstance surrounding the former MBC's status.  This is Jennifer from Whole Health Services, doing business as the MBC and I've been recently talking to a few folks who have similar situations, that have come to us asking for help.   One of these women had suggested there were postings on the internet that we may want to look into as certainly the transition was rather quiet  and there really isn't any information as to what occurred during the sale.  Particularly  for some of the former clients of the Madison Birth Center, prior to the acquisition by Whole Health Services, LLC on 10/3/2011.  


There was a deliberate decision to not make a big splash over the asset sale as we didn't want to alarm any of our beautiful Mama's with babes on the way.  Thankfully, the transition went without a hitch (not without work though!), thanks to Amie, AnnMarie, Lisa, Alyssa, Nichole, Molly, Emily, Mary M and many others who supported us.  I'd love to hear from you personally and anyone else in a similar situation.  We're working to see what we can do to help you get in touch with people who are in the same boat.   Obviously, given HIPPA regulations this is a delicate matter. 


On the flip side, i'm very happy to hear that you found the strong community of home birth midwives in Madison.  They were the first ones to introduce me to this beautiful world of natural birth, I am forever thankful to them. 


Please do contact me at the birth center.  I'd love to talk to you more.  --Jennifer

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Minnesota, Wisconsin
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Welcome to Mothering! › Connect With Other Moms › Moms In Your Area › Minnesota, Wisconsin › Madison Birth Center stories/info?